January 8, 2013

NBA: Celtics beat Knicks in heated game

NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett jawed from baseline to midcourt, and Anthony still had more to say.

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Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) reacts to a score as New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler walks by in the second half Monday at Madison Square Garden in New York. Pierce led with 23 points as the Celtics won 102-96.

AP

So the Knicks forward went toward the Celtics locker room after the game to keep shouting, taking his frustrations from the court right along with him and perhaps risking an NBA suspension.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points, and Boston beat New York 102-96 on Monday night in a heated first meeting of the season between the Atlantic Division rivals.

Anthony left without talking to reporters and the Knicks wouldn't comment on Anthony's postgame trip in the wrong direction, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn't deny it.

"I'm going to let you all figure that one out. I'm going to stay out of that," Rivers said. "If it was the playoffs I'd tell on him, but since it's not I'm going to just be quiet."

Rivers didn't need to. MSG Network reported the incident, in which security had to step in and send Anthony back in the right direction, as it went to its postgame show, and the league likely will investigate and could penalize the Knicks' leading scorer.

"I didn't know what was going on at that point in time," Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire said. "It's strictly basketball. We have to keep it on the basketball court and make sure we come to play every night. Boston will definitely bring the intensity and aggressive play. We got to be able to match that."

Garnett added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who even without the suspended Rajon Rondo won their third straight and finally are playing like the team that has ruled the division for the last half-decade.

The Knicks want that title now, but Anthony and his teammates were reminded how tough the Celtics can make it.

Anthony had 20 points but shot 6 of 26 while battling his temper, Garnett and foul trouble.

Garnett denied the postgame altercation.

"Listen, heat of the battle, man. Guys go back and forth. He's trying to get his team to go, I'm trying to get my team to go, both teams are colliding, not to mention that it's the Knicks and the Celtics," Garnett said. "Just what it is, man."

J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 24 points. Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 17 rebounds.

Rondo was suspended Monday for making contact with a referee in a game against Atlanta on Saturday and failure to cooperate with an NBA investigation. Without the NBA's assist leader, the Celtics relied on the kind of defense that has been absent too often this season.

They allowed 78 points per game in their last two wins, then held the Knicks to 40 in the second half Monday.

Pierce, who was also in foul trouble in the tightly and sometimes inconsistently called game, put it away with a jumper with 45 seconds to go, blowing a kiss toward the crowd he loves to torment after putting the Celtics up by six.

Anthony had averaged 34.4 points in his last 10 games and had a pair of 40-point performances last week, but his jumper was off from the start Monday as the Knicks had their two-game winning streak snapped.

"They took us out of a lot that we wanted to accomplish out there," said Chandler, who said "nothing" happened after the game.

"Very physical on the ball," he said. "Forced us to take some tough shots."

Boston led by four when Anthony and Garnett became extra physical with each other on a Boston possession that ended with a turnover with 9:03 remaining. Anthony followed him all the way to midcourt as they jawed at each other following the play, leading to technical fouls on both players.

(Continued on page 2)

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